Tensions high as ambush suspect evades capture
CANADENSIS, Pennsylvania (AP) — The manhunt for the survivalist accused of ambushing a state police barracks has narrowed to the rural area where he grew up and his parents still live, but the suspect has managed to elude capture despite the efforts of hundreds of law enforcement officials.
State police Tuesday brought in an armored tactical vehicle outfitted with robotic video cameras. The vehicle, called The Rook, can deliver officers to the second story of a house without having to approach from the ground, climb stairs or use a ladder, its manufacturer says.
As the search for Eric Frein entered its 11th full day, NBC’s “Today” show aired footage from an upcoming documentary about Vietnam re-enactors that featured the 31-year-old suspect. In the clip from “Vietnam Appreciation Day,” Frein talks about the difficult terrain where one of the re-enactments took place.
“We had to find them, and we just walked around for two days straight,” he said.
In another excerpt, Frein identified himself by name and said the re-enactment was “about teaching the public and showing the equipment that was used, talking about the history of it all.”
The film’s director, Patrick Bresnan, told The Associated Press that he last saw Frein in 2011.
State police have been closing roads in the Canadensis area as they hunt for Frein, who’s charged with killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson on Sept. 12 and seriously wounding another trooper outside the Blooming Grove barracks.
Residents have been unable to get back to their homes due to heavy police activity in the heavily wooded region of the Pocono Mountains, and tensions are running high. The American Red Cross opened a shelter for displaced residents from two townships late Monday.
One resident, Bill Mew, said the lengthy manhunt has been nerve-wracking.
“You start thinking to yourself, is this guy standing outside your front door? So you start looking out the windows, and then you think to yourself, that’s not such a good idea, in case he’s looking back,” he said.
Authorities have called Frein a self-taught survivalist with a vendetta against law enforcement. State police have followed up on hundreds of tips and reported sightings. None have panned out. But police officials insist they are hot on his trail.
“I do believe that we are close to him at this point,” state police Lt. Col. George Bivens said Monday.
Kathryn Schaller rode the school bus for years with Frein, who was a year ahead of her in the Pocono Mountain School District.
Schaller, 29, described Frein as a quiet, smart kid who kept to himself — someone more likely to be a police officer than to be charged with killing one.
“I was baffled when I heard about this,” Schaller said.
“Then again, that was 15 years ago,” she said. “Anything can make somebody snap, I guess.”.